When you are thinking about going to a Christmas gathering, you need to think about the setting. Is it a casual setting? Will people be getting all decked out for it? Who will be attending? Obviously, a party for your kids at school will be different than a corporate party at the job.
When you have a party with kids, try to have them get involved in both decorating as well as cooking. Kids love to make cookies and chocolate pudding. These are fun and easy dishes to make. You can also use paper, bells and tinsel to get kids involved for setting up tree glitter decor.
If you are going to a black tie Christmas event, this is an elegant situation. You'll be eating on china and there will probably be dancing. If you or your partner have any alcohol issues, be careful and just drink flavored water. There may be important people from the company and controlling drinking is important for consideration of for future promotions.
For a family gathering at the home, be aware that there may be family tensions and rivalries. Some families have a lot of underlying tension and if this is the case, consider having two separate parties where there won't be any flare ups of tempers.
Send out the invitations early because people have a lot of gatherings from work, school and relatives. If you get yours out first, you'll have the best chances for high attendance. Remember to put stamps on the envelopes as this is easily overlooked when you are busy. Also, let the envelopes look different than cards as people may not open them immediately if they think they are cards.
If you have a party in your home, then remember to have nice candles around. The scent of candles can be a subtle touch and create a nice atmosphere.